PHOENIX - Skateboards and scooters are fun, but a longboard with a motor that goes nearly 30 mph? That sounds awesome.
A Valley entrepreneur is making this a reality at Lux Longboards. He made electric longboards that look like a regular longboard but with extra power.
"I actually grew up on a dirt road in Flagstaff, Arizona so I never had a skateboard or longboard before I came to college," said Westin Smith, founder of Lux Longboards.
It was 2017 when Smith started making the boards in his dorm room while he was an engineering student at Grand Canyon University.
"I came to campus and needed a way to get around and purchased my first electric longboard on a whim," Smith said, adding, "As I went around campus it was amazing to see how many students asked if they could, you know, try it out, if they could demo it."
So, he started thinking like an entrepreneur, made the boards and rented them to students. Things were going great with Lux Longboard rentals until he hit a roadblock.
"Unfortunately after about half a year in business, we had a huge problem. The batteries inside the boards we were renting out had a 90% failure rate," he explained.
So he worked to find a solution.
"As a mechanical engineering student, I wanted to find the solution to battery failures. So after I started looking into the technology, I actually developed an ultra flexible battery pack that uses the same battery technology found in Tesla cars," he said.
In 2019, Smith started manufacturing the boards for purchase. He sells the lightest and thinnest electric longboards in the industry, called the Lux LT, going up to 23 mph with a 7 to 12-mile range.
"You've got a remote that controls everything. So you go forward to go, you don't have to worry about hitting cracks and the board stopping. And then you also have brakes so if you're going downhill, you don't have to worry about losing control," he said.
The company also just released a new model, the Lux LX. It can reach 30 mph and this one, Smith says, can go off-road.
"It has a nice concave feel so your feet actually grip to it, so you can surf the streets, you can shred and offroad really safely," he said.
He's has come a long way since his dorm room manufacturing days. He graduated in 2020 from GCU, but still works on campus in the school's Canyon Ventures space, allowing him to employ students.
"Sometimes we'll do the complete assembly here at Canyon Ventures and then sometimes we'll have it done elsewhere. But we do a lot of prototyping here along with repairs," he explained.
Lux Longboards is beginning to reach people across the country, with some orders coming from other parts of the world. It's something that keeps Smith motivated to keep creating.
"First of all, we're US-based which is something you don't see very often in the tech industry. Second of all, riding a Lux Longboard is just an incredible feel. It gives you the joy of surfing on streets. It gives you the excitement and it's actually so easy to do," he said.
The joy the boards bring is what helps fuel his passion for the company, Smith said.
Learn more about Lux Longboards here: https://www.luxlongboards.com/
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